About the Big HOle River Drought Management Plan

Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success

The Big Hole River Drought Management Plan designates target river flow and temperature conditions for fish health in five river sections of the Big Hole River. The plan includes voluntary conservation targets for all water users, MFWP fishing restriction criteria, and information tools. Conservation actions are designed support the health of the fishery.

The plan outlines voluntary conservation actions and relies on Shared Sacrifice, Shared Success – if all users sacrifice, we can all be successful in protecting the fishery. The plan also designates MFWP fishing restrictions when drought conditions reach critical levels.

The BHWC DMP originated in 1997. The plan is reviewed annually by a committee made up of irrigators, fishermen, conservation groups, and agency representatives as well as the entire BHWC.

River Conditions

Streamflow Forecast

From Jacqueline Knutson, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Hydrologist. As of 4/18/2018:

Streamflows: Seasonal gauges began reporting again in early April as ice broke up and are showing above average flows this past week likely in response to precipitation including some valley snowfall and with the amount of snowpack in the basin this year I expect flows to remain high through the runoff season. Saginaw bridge is not currently reporting because we have yet to be able to get up there to take a measurement and check the condition of the gauge as winter conditions persist up high.

Forecast: The La Nina advisory issued over the winter is still in effect and will likely last until mid-May now before we transition to ENSO-neutral conditions that are expected to last through the northern hemisphere summer. La Nina conditions did weaken somewhat during March but as we are still in the thick of it forecasters are struggling to predict conditions beyond this summer until we fully return to ENSO-neutral.

The three-month outlook currently favors normal to slightly above average precipitation depending on the flow of incoming weather systems through the rest of the spring and a continuation of the average to below average temperatures we’ve seen over the last month.

These forecasts are always subject to change. For more information, visit: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/30day/.

View the Forecast Details

2016 Fundraising


2018 USGS Gage Bill:

Water Temperature at Big Hole River @ Wise River (Dickie Bridge), Maiden Rock, and Notch Bottom (Glen):

USGS Flow Gages for Upper Big Hole CCAA program:

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Wise River Real-Time Gage

Success Story

The Wise River real-time gage was installed near the mouth of the Wise River October 2015. The Big Hole Watershed Committee sought installation in order to continue flow and temperature monitoring in the Wise River, as well provide information for Wise River irrigators. The gage reports flow, stage and water temperature in real-time via Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Surface Water website. The gage is part of the 2015 launch of DNRC & Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology real-time monitoring system for small streams, who installed and operates the gage. Funding was provided by Big Hole Watershed Committee, The Nature Conservancy, and Montana Trout Unlimited and is graciously hosted on the PKR Ranch. The Big Hole Watershed Committee in partnership with DNRC, MFWP, and Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology have been conducting monitoring of the Wise River surface and groundwater since 2011.

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